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New Year, New Workplace Trends

By Emily McGuinness 

New Year, New Workplace Trends 

Recently CNBC posted an article forecasting workplace trends for 2019, stating that “more employees will want to align with employers that have a social mission.”  At Leadership Pioneer Valley, we see a desire among our LEAP program participants to connect with a deeper purpose in their work, and we are excited to see this growing trend.   

We recently updated our organization’s vision statement to “we strive to create a vibrant Pioneer Valley with accessible, inclusive networks of inspired individuals who are leading and connecting the communities in which they live and work.” Our organization stands on an important social mission. Engaging more leaders in the workplace who are creating social responsibility in their workplaces, and our communities is both exciting and essential.  

In another article posted on Wrike, they anticipate a higher emphasis being placed on work-life balance. With mobile devices like cell-phones and tablets making work accessible 24/7, the ratio of work to life is typically unbalanced for most people. 2019 is the year that many will be evaluating how to create more of a barrier between these two worlds, and LPV stands behind this initiative willingly. 

Self-care is crucial, even for working professionals that do not feel as though they have the time for it. Eating lunch away from your desk, leaving your work at work, taking that 30 minute break you pretend you don’t have, leaving after your shift is actually over, or even taking a minute to breathe at your desk in between tasks. All of these simple things can help improve a work-life balance and can easily be done right in the office.  

Our last LEAP session covered practicing resilience as leaders. A person must know their limits while pushing themselves.  Pushing yourself too far is not what you want. It can be easy to get caught up in projects or large undertakings, we get it! But, we are excited to see that there may be a higher value placed on the individual and their personal balance of work and life this year. What are the ways you restore yourself?  What are things that you can say “no” to this year? 

“Ramps of Inclusion”

Our board has just finished the process of creating a vision statement for Leadership Pioneer Valley. I am proud of the inclusive and deliberative process that we undertook. At the end of the process, a board member commented that they couldn’t think of a single word that they would change. Our new vision is for a “vibrant Pioneer Valley with accessible, inclusive networks of inspired individuals who are leading and connecting the communities in which they live and work.” As we developed the statement we had a discussion about some of the key words and their meanings. Many of the small groups spent time on the words “accessible” and “inclusive.” There were some very powerful discussions on the differences between these two words. For some, it was not immediately apparent that they are different. As the daughter of a parent in a wheelchair, accessibility was always on our minds. Much of the world in the 1970’s and 1980’s was not accessible. There were places and activities that were simply not available to my dad. In some instances we were able access places if we were willing to carry my dad up a flight of stairs and endure the humiliation of the spectacle. In other instances, we would reserve a handicapped room and discover upon arrival that although we were able to enter the motel, the bathroom wasn’t accessible. I learned that there are degrees of accessibility. As the American’s with Disabilities Act came into effect, my dad began to have access to more establishments. But access did not equal inclusion. Many handicapped sections were in the back of the room or in the aisle. The majority of store clerks and wait staffs that we encountered did not include my father. They chose to speak to other members of the family instead of him. As a woman, I have also seen this first hand. There are several “men’s” leadership groups in the area that meet regularly–I and other women will never have access. Additionally, there is another group that is open to women but has never accepted one in its ranks. One board member remarked that there are opportunities she didn’t even know that exist. I know many other groups have similar experiences. The conversations of our board members as they navigated the importance of both accessibility and then inclusion underscored the responsibility of inclusion. Black history month reminds us that this country has made great strides towards accessibility. We have struck down laws that divide us and added others to increase accessibility for all. Yet inclusion is much harder to tackle. Women and folks of color are increasingly able to be at the table, yet are not always made to feel welcome. We may have built the handicapped ramps but still put the seats in the back of the room. I look forward to listening more for the voices of those that still don’t feel included and find ways to make our board rooms, offices, and communities more inclusive for those that we have invited to participate (that’s assuming that we are accessible). This is how we will make our vision a reality for the Valley.

Written by: Lora Wondolowski

Link to Article Online

Leadership Pioneer Valley Announces Addition of Rosemary Manu as Program Coordinator

Springfield, MA— Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) announced that Rosemary Manu has joined the LPV team as the LEAP Program Coordinator. Rosemary will hold various responsibilities in this position including assisting in the planning, coordination, and execution of Leadership Pioneer Valley’s nine-month leadership development program, in addition to helping recruit future LEAP program participants.

Rosemary returned to Springfield last spring after obtaining a master’s degree from George Washington University in International Development Studies with a concentration in Energy. Prior to this, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Connecticut. Most recently, Rosemary worked as a consultant for USAID Food for Peace which provided her with monitoring and evaluation skills. She was responsible for evaluating and assessing the effectiveness of combining emergency assistance and resilience-building. She also comes to Leadership Pioneer Valley with an extensive background in the UN Women in Bangkok, Thailand, in the Disaster Risk Reduction Department. This experience expanded her research and writing skills and led her to become passionate about helping to develop communities and individuals. She hopes to bring all of her many skills she has acquired into her new role as a Program Coordinator for Leadership Pioneer Valley.